NewsKansas City Public Safety


Smithville elementary teacher accused of shooting wife, killing stepson who attended Staley High School

Steven Woods mug shot.
Posted at 4:38 PM, Sep 25, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Smithville School District elementary school teacher is accused of shooting his wife and shooting and killing his stepson, a Staley High School student, on Sunday in the Northland.

Steven L. Woods, is charged with first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon and first-degree assault in the death of Joseph M. Bonacorso, whose mother also was shot during the violence.

The killing took place early Sunday morning in the 1300 block of Northeast 119th Terrace.

Officers responded and located Bonacorso suffering from gunshot wounds inside the home. He died at the scene.

Court records said Woods had been at pool party with his wife, Bonacorso's mom, during the afternoon before the shooting.

The couple started to argue on the way home, because she caught him texting another woman.

When the pair arrived home, Woods' wife allegedly grabbed his phone after he fell asleep. She ran into a restroom in the home and locked herself inside.

Woods' wife told detectives he broke through the door to retrieve his phone. She alleged that he threw her down inside a bathtub multiple times.

During the altercation, another witness, who was inside the home, tried to intervene while Woods and his wife were in the bathroom.

That witness said Woods came after her, so she retreated from the bathroom and locked herself in a bedroom.

Woods allegedly broke through her door and broke her television, so she called Bonacorso because she feared for her life, court documents said.

Detectives interviewed three other witnesses who had been with Bonacorso on the night of the shooting.

All three told detectives Bonacorso had returned home because he'd received calls indicating that Woods and his mom were fighting.

After Bonacurso arrived home, he went to stop the fighting and confront Woods, while two of his friends who came home with him went to help his mom and the victim locked in the bedroom leave the house.

Woods had locked himself in a bedroom and told detectives he heard Bonacorso say, "I'm going to kill that motherf*****r," so he retrieved a gun.

Eventually, Woods exited the room to confront Bonacurso. One witness told investigators he saw Woods shoot Bonacorso five to six times.

Woods told detectives that Bonacorso allegedly raised a knife toward and him before admitting that he shot him.

During the altercation, Woods also shot his wife, who survived.

A recording made by another witness who was on the phone with the person locked in a bedroom recorded the phone call, including Bonacurso yelling "Are you going to shoot me like you did my dad?" at Woods.

According to a personal-injury lawsuit filed by Joseph Bonacurso's father, John, against his ex-wife, Woods shot him in December 2016 during a dispute over visitation at a former residence.

Citing self-defense, Woods was not charged in the shooting of John Bonacurso, but a KCPD spokesperson confirmed that police investigated the 2016 shooting.

In a letter to families, Dr. Mark Maus, the superintendent for the Smithville School District, confirmed Woods is an elementary teacher at Maple Elementary School.

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I write to you today. There is no greater priority than the health, safety, and welfare of our students. Smithville School District has been made aware of a tragedy involving a Smithville School District staff member. Steven Woods, Maple Elementary Teacher, has been arrested and charged with several serious crimes. To that end, Smithville School District is cooperating fully with law enforcement as part of an ongoing investigation involving the staff member. Please know that this incident does not involve any other Smithville staff or any Smithville students.
Dr. Mark Maus, superintendent for Smithville School District